At the opening party of a colossal, but poorly constructed, office building, a massive fire breaks out that threatens to destroy the tower and everyone in it.

Director:

John Guillermin

Writers:

Richard Martin Stern (novel), Thomas N. Scortia (novel) | 2 more credits »
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Popularity
3,567 ( 25)
Won 3 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Steve McQueen ... Chief O'Halloran
Paul Newman ... Doug Roberts
William Holden ... Jim Duncan
Faye Dunaway ... Susan
Fred Astaire ... Harlee Claiborne
Susan Blakely ... Patty
Richard Chamberlain ... Simmons
Jennifer Jones ... Lisolette
O.J. Simpson ... Jernigan
Robert Vaughn ... Senator Parker
Robert Wagner ... Dan Bigelow
Susan Flannery ... Lorrie
Sheila Allen ... Paula Ramsay (as Sheila Mathews)
Norman Burton ... Giddings (as Normann Burton)
Jack Collins ... Mayor Ramsay
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Storyline

Doug Roberts, Architect, returns from a long vacation to find work nearly completed on his skyscraper. He goes to the party that night concerned he's found that his wiring specifications have not been followed and that the building continues to develop short circuits. When the fire begins, Michael O'Halleran is the chief on duty as a series of daring rescues punctuate the terror of a building too tall to have a fire successfully fought from the ground. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

One Tiny Spark Becomes A Night Of Blazing Suspense. See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Harlee Claiborne was putting on his tuxedo jacket, he looked at the receipt, which was dated 7-4-74, which may have been the date of the opening of the Glass Tower. See more »

Goofs

At the beginning of the movie when we first see the tower, it's easy to tell that it's a fake/added building because it's slightly moving. See more »

Quotes

Chief O'Hallorhan: [picking up a security phone] This is O'Hallorhan, who am I speaking to?
Flaker: [into the phone] Chief Flaker, sir. US Navy Air Rescue.
Chief O'Hallorhan: It's about time, we can use your rescue choppers.
Flaker: I've ordered them right away. I'd like to set up communications next to the forward command center.
Chief O'Hallorhan: No no, too dangerous! Stay out of those elevators!
Flaker: Well then, sir, we'll just trot right up the stairs.
Chief O'Hallorhan: Yeah, you'll just trot right up to 79, huh?
Flaker: [chastened] Standing by in the lobby, sir.
Chief O'Hallorhan: Thank you.
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Crazy Credits

The 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. Pictures logos don't appear in the beginning. See more »

Alternate Versions

In UK daytime TV airings of the film, the swear word muttered by Chief O'Halloran (Steve McQueen) after he realizes there is no way to airlift him back down after rigging the water tank charges, is drowned out in the sound mix (although he still mouths it). However in the same scene, when he is on the phone to Doug Roberts (Paul Newman) to say what the plan is, his reference to himself as a "dumb son of a bitch" is still audible. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Flash Forward: Curtain Call (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

The Morning After
(uncredited)
Written by Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn
Played at the party when Roberts is first reporting the fire to Duncan
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User Reviews

 
" What do they call it when you kill people? "
15 October 2009 | by thinker1691See all my reviews

In the world of architectural structures, there are some buildings which have become synonymous with the state there were born in. Indeed, the structure which caught fire in this film was actually created from two stories. The original building was called 'The Tower' and it's sister structure was called " The Glass Inferno.' Together they were united summarily and christened as " The Towering Inferno. " Assembling a memorable cast caused this movie to be riveting and spellbinding. The inner tale for this combined feature is of a majestic and towering high rise which has just been inaugurated as it's first occupants are checking in and occupying their rooms. The architect, Doug Roberts (Paul Newman) has just returned from a short vacation and is impressed with his completed design. Immediately upon his return however, he discovers a small fire has broken out, due to faulty wiring. As the fire spreads, the Construction engineer, Jim Duncan (William Holden) is informed his chief electrical engineer has just been burned to death. As the fires continues to grow and evolve into a flaming, dangerous and ever rising inferno, the city's fire departments begin to arrive introducing Chief Michael O'Hallorhan (Steve McQueen). Several other stories thread and interlace the surface story involving Hollywood's elite, including Fred Astaire, Faye Dunaway, Richard Chamberlain, Robert Vaughn, and Robert Wagner. If you're seeing this movie for the first time, be prepared for many action scenes and exciting hair raising stunts. The story line is plausible (due to 911) as we acknowledge the firmly established courage and honored reputation of America's valiant Firemen, which is now fact and part of our history. Great movie which now wears the title of Classic. ****


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 December 1974 (Canada) See more »

Also Known As:

The Towering Inferno See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$14,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$116,000,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$116,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)| 4-Track Stereo (Japan theatrical release)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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